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EEOC sees rise in disability discrimination cases

Texas employees may be interested to learn that data from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission shows that complaints surrounding disability discrimination are increasing. The data showed that about 30 percent of the charges in 2016 were for disability discrimination even though disabled individuals only make up about 17.5 percent of the workforce.

In total, 28,073 disability charges were brought against employers in 2016 alone. In 5,680 cases, the EEOC found evidence that discrimination had occurred and collected about $131 million in penalties. The EEOC identifies cases were discrimination has occurred by finding patterns, so it is likely that some legitimate disability discrimination cases were not identified as such. The rise in disability discrimination claims could be caused by an increase in discrimination that takes place, but employees who face this form of discrimination may also feel more confident about reporting their claims.

Disabled individuals often report that they have trouble getting interviews or just being hired. They may fear that their disability is a factor in not getting hired. Many of the disabled people who are employed are likely to be employed in low-wage positions where they may not be offered benefits. When they are working, some report being subjected to harassment, retaliation and being refused promotions. Some are denied accommodation that they are entitled to.

If workers are facing harassment, retaliation or other punishments stemming from their disability, an employment discrimination attorney may help. The attorney may assist with filing a lawsuit against the employer for failing to provide reasonable accommodations or for terminating the employee due to the disability. The attorney may gather evidence that bolsters the case, including emails, text messages and employee testimony.

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